THAT UNFORGETTABLE TRAIN RIDE

CHRISTOPHER, THIS STORY IS FOR YOU!

As the train slowly inched away from the platform, my life would first take a turn for the worst before it would take a turn for the best.

With my 18-month old son in the stroller, I proceeded to step up the staircase of the no. 8 railway car with boarding tickets in hand, leaving Frankfurt’s dingy station and damp weather to arrive in warmer Avignon, France, 12 hours later.  I now wonder, how did I manage that long trip with Christopher scoping the leather banquette from side to side?  After all, he was a healthy and happy rambunctious toddler.   This was a weekend excursion with a hefty mission…to say goodbye to my dearest grandmother, because we were returning to America.

Relatives came to pick us up at the station and soon my eyes gazed at the familiar evergreen rod iron gate, where Mame Jane stood holding on to the tall bars.  I noticed she had diminished in stature, wearing a black and white geometric dress, her lavender apron around her plumb waist, black stockings with perfectly straight seams, the gate flew open, we embraced as she grabbed Christopher into her small frame.  Later, we gathered around a sumptuous supper she had lovingly prepared.  Christopher had fallen quickly asleep on her red velvet sofa.

Then came that dreadful moment to part, to say goodbye was so heart-wrenching.  Everyone cried while speaking hope that this moment was just “so long.”  As my grandmother closed the gate behind us, Christopher grabbed the bars to touch her fingertips, she instantly pulled out of her pocket her precious dark purple stone rosary, the one she always prayed with since I could remember as a child and placed it into my hand.  Her deep brown eyes betrayed her agony as she told me never to forget praying her rosary for her and Christopher….I still do.

Moving fast forward like today’s aerodynamic trains, I caress my grandmother’s rosary daily with grateful affection, the one she bought in Lourdes.  Mary has protected my son and I through the years from our worst trials…a devastating divorce and being separated for 10 years.  I cherish my grandmother’s love life of prayer, which inches me forward with her rosary in hand.

By the grace of God, my life train is on track…choo-choo-…all aboard!

your scribe for love